Find Your Tribe
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Psalm 133:1 NKJV
I very vividly remember the loneliest time of my life. I was single, had just moved to Florida, I knew nobody here, and had just met my roommate. It didn’t take long for me to get so desperate for community that I went out and bought a little $5 plant from K-Mart so that I could water it and sit with it on my back porch; I named it Pete the plant. Now that’s lonely!
People can turn to crazy things when they are lonely. Drinking or partying friends are super easy to find when loneliness sets in, but there are so many regrets made from going down the wrong path to find community. There are all kinds of clubs and hobbies people join to find community as well, but nothing takes the place of Godly fellowship. Screen time even tries to replace time spent with good friends, but there is no substitute. Fortunately, I got busy going to a little church near my home and attending Bible studies. I met other Christian singles in the same stage of life as myself, and I met some older Christians who became mentors to me.
Although my lonely season didn’t last long, I learned a valuable lesson during that time: we are all meant to be in community. I’m not a social butterfly that has to be around people all of the time, but the life of a hermit isn’t for anyone, no matter how introverted they may be.
Fast forward a couple of years. In the early stages of my marriage I can remember being occasionally frustrated over the same reoccurring issue:
Basically, I was a hopeless romantic, and my spouse was a stoic on the other end of the spectrum. It didn’t seem like a big deal, so I didn’t think much about it; our lack of romance just bothered me from time to time.
One day I was having dinner with a group of friends from ECCC, and one of the couples told us about another couple that had started meeting with them to help them talk through their marriage problems. Not only were they believers, but this couple was also older, wiser, and had a time-tested, great marriage. Another couple at the table was also meeting with those same mentors to get marriage help. They loved the mentoring sessions so much that they encouraged us (and other couples at the table) to go see them for the health of their marriages.
We ended up setting up an appointment to go talk to the marriage mentors, and it proved to be a life changing experience. They talked through our issues with us and gave us sound advice, but we walked away with something much more valuable than that. We walked away with a sense of community, a sense of safety, and we knew that we would never need to do marriage or other relationships alone as long as we had other believers in our lives to do life with.
I see this all across our church. I see this sense of community in small groups. I see teens meeting with their young adult small group leaders. I see young adults meeting with middle-aged mentors, and I personally have friends who are older than I am, whom I can glean wisdom from. Most of these relationships start by meeting in small groups or by serving along side each other in different volunteer or staff positions at the church.
We are a church family, and while we do have occasional family issues, I would never want to do life or relationships without them.
Go the Extra Mile:
Maybe you already feel connected to the family, or maybe you are longing for connection. Perhaps you only have connections with unbelievers who have been dragging you down. Or maybe you feel just fine being disconnected; but let me encourage you that not only do you need Christian community, but other people need you too. We are truly better together. The goodness and pleasantness that Psalm 133:1 speaks of is just waiting to happen in your life. It’s time to find an area of the church where you can plug in and serve, or join a small group, or both! This community needs you and you need community!
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